Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Great (Infill) Debate

For those of you who are at all interested in the development of the greater Raleigh area, I'm sure you have not been able to remain in the dark about this issue.

My lovely Asheton Mae sent me a link this morning to New Raleigh's blog where I stumbled upon "Raleigh McMansion Battle Royale".

(Of course, the article Asheton was sending me to was about the closing of Hideaway BBQ... which is just as sad as the rampant growth Raleigh is dealing with right now... put up 1000 new homes, lose another pulled-pork joint. NOT COOL.)

Back on topic, I guess it's time for me to weigh in on this issue. I understand the view of both sides and notably, have great friends on both, but this is my opinion and I'd like to think it's quite humble.

I was just telling my mom and dad tonight, who were talking about one of the $950K+ homes that was just built a fraction of a mile from their southern Wake County home, that I think these builders who are building so many new home communities that are exclusively from the $700's, $900's, $1M, etc. are going to see a bubble burst soon. There are just not THAT many people coming into this area with THAT much money.

Property that was once a nest egg, truly isn't anymore. These properties are being built to current market value that has significantly risen in the past 10 years, so much that I don't think they are going to continue to rise at this rate... they really can't forever.

I applaud the people who are buying nice homes with the intention of retiring IN them, but I firmly believe the ones who are buying NOW with the hopes of retiring FROM THE SALE OF THEM are going to get burnt. That ship has sailed. Sorry, you missed the boat. (Let's not even talk about the investors who are putting themselves into financial ruin to get into these properties they can't afford.)

Try another area all you'd like, but you have got to stop developing the mess out of Raleigh's once charming community and expecting and demanding the local government to bend over backward to give you financial benefits. They are not anti-growth, they are (as New Raleigh says) quality growth. And THAT my friends, is what in the end will truly provide homeowners with the lifetime value we Raleigh natives have come to know and love in this area for many more years to come.

While I can respect that homebuilders would like the city to account for where these increases in infill costs are being used (I believe they've risen 250% with no significant accounting of where the extra money is going), I do not sympathize with them any more than that. They are by far some of the biggest individuals and businesses profiting from the growth in this area, I think they are MORE than capable of helping to preserve a great quality of life here without spoiling it for future generations and lifetime homeowners.

I whole-heartedly agree with this next quote from New Raleigh and encourage you all to make yourself aware of the situation (especially if you currently, or ever plan to, call Raleigh home) and cast your own vote.

"The infill-standards opposition group, a.k.a. Raleigh developers and nest-eggers, claim that the “effort by Councilmen Thomas Crowder and Russ Stephenson is part of an overall anti-growth message.” These council members and others who support them are not “anti-growth,” they are PROPER-growth. They are RESPECTFUL-growth. And they are QUALITY-growth. These are the people that understand that something must be done to control the entities that are trivializing and de-valuing the established history and foundations of Raleigh’s unique character."

That's the end of my soapbox. I rarely have them, so I think I'm due one every now and then. :-)

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